Interview with TransferGuru Founder Omid Pakseresht – Part Three – The Team, The Project, The Future: TransferGuru

Jan. 14, 2016

The final part of our three-part interview series with TransferGuru Founder Omid Pakseresht – stickiness, strategy and the story behind the start-up saving everyone from expensive money transfers.

To TransferGuru. So why a comparison service, specifically? Why didn’t you set up another TransferWise?

Because there are TransferWises. There are 10, 20, 50 Transferwises, and there are more and more of them happening every day. But the key is that people don’t know about them. Even if they did know about them, they wouldn’t necessarily trust them, or go to them as their first choice.

So the opportunity is in assisting people and helping them use this industry, which is growing so fast. So that’s how you could explain it. Or you could say, ‘Hey, it upsets me that 45,000 people search for, say, Western Union online on a monthly basis, but only 1,000 search for a newer company, even though they’re offering a much better deal.’ That stickiness needs to change. It seems like it’s purely because people don’t actually know what options are available to them. It’s what they’ve been used to for 30, 40, 50 years. Sure, the old guard supported people. It was fantastic. They’ve got a great history, whatever they did.

Now, it’s a different story.

For the last 5 years, people haven’t had to do that any more, but they do.

So to pick up on the word ‘stickiness’, by stickiness you mean loyalty to the more expensive option, the option they’ve always used?

Yeah. Loyalty could be a very strong word, actually, but just ‘habit’.

So you want to ‘break a habit’?

You’re only going to be able to break it if you bring something better to someone’s attention, offer them new information, and offer them a safe alternative. If you do that, the stickiness will become irrelevant.

“I think the greatest asset that we have is that we rely on the community a lot”

TransferGuru essentially provides a quick and easy answer to the best price for remittance, and we’ve seen just how big the remittance market is. So there’s a need there, and there’s considerable activity there. All the elements are there for a really useful service. Are you happy with the traffic to the site – is there anything slowing it down?

I think it’s a trust issue, and I think it’s an awareness issue. And I think both of them are things that are moving in the right direction. And I think we are helping that process. There are other secondary parameters. The other parameters, like customer service and so on, which will come into play. But yeah, it’s really just an issue of trust and awareness.

So what are you doing to overcome that?

We’ll get there. We’re giving people what they need to know. And they’ll come. They’re coming already, and they’ll come more. I think the greatest asset that we have is that we rely on the community a lot. Whether it’s our followers on social media, whether it’s reviews that we generate on the website, there is a strong reliance on community building.

Everybody who makes a transfer has got to check first. That’s the target. If someone knows that they’re getting the best deal, fair enough, go and get it. But the target would be to raise awareness to the point where people know that there are other choices available to them.

How do you differentiate yourself from other people trying to do the same thing, or a similar thing?

I know that the service that we provide is more comprehensive and more efficient, compared to every other comparison service out there already. In terms of differentiating yourself from other people, it’s the user base that you build, that you build a relationship with, that you build trust with, and it’s a question of being able to service that user base so you retain those customers. And those are things that we’re doing very well.

Other sites – They look at brokers, and they look at people who need to send thousands of pounds abroad in one single transaction. They look at making a big cut out of that. We’re not doing any of those things. We’re not making a cut out of it, we’re just making referrals. We’re focussed on people who need this the most, who send money regularly and who get charged the highest rates already.

Also, we are getting live rates. We almost have live rates already. No one’s got that tech. We’ve got very, very talented people working on tech. But that’s something that will show in the coming months as well.

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TransferGuru compares the leading providers for sending money internationally.